Get Moving in May!

May 3, 2016

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.  There are a number of organizations promoting physical activity and fitness to all ages.  It is a great time to pause and listen to these messages.  Physical inactivity is rapidly becoming a public health problem and is a leading cause of death throughout the world. 

At the same time, there is significant and well-documented evidence supporting the benefits of regular physical activity and exercise.  The benefits include lower risks of many health conditions including recurrent breast cancer, colon cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Greater strength, endurance and a general “feel better” condition are valued benefits of exercise. 

What would motivate or does motivate you to become physically active and to exercise regularly?  Individuals desiring to feel better and improve their health should consider adding physical activity to their “to do” list.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way, does it?  More than half of adults (56%) do not meet the current recommendations for adequate physical activity.  Common barriers to exercise include lack of time and interest, not enough energy, boredom and weather issues.

Here are several practical tips that will help motivate you to move more and become more active:

  • Start slowly with a routine you feel confident you will accomplish – be specific with what you want to do and when you want to do it.
  • Choose activities you enjoy and exercise in locations that you feel safe and comfortable.
  • Seek opportunities to exercise and engage in physical activity.  After dinner, instead of watching TV, go for a walk – include your family or a neighbor.  Have fun and enjoy the time together!   
  • Plan ahead and work around busy schedules and time challenges.  Set aside time on a regular basis to exercise, garden or walk.  If you are working, walk during a designated break or before or after work.  Include a co-worker!

Almost everyone can begin an exercise program with very little investment except time and proper footwear.  If you have been inactive for a long period of time or if you have existing health issues, it is always a good idea to consult with your primary care provider before you begin exercising.  Also consider contacting a certified fitness specialist who is qualified to help you develop a program that is right for you.   Seek out friends and family members who will support your efforts to improve your health.  Share your plan for success!

Get started today and capture the benefits of moving more!  Regular and consistent exercise is best – strive for 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity (examples include walking, gardening, and/or cycling).  Include stretching and strengthening exercises on a regular basis and see your overall fitness level and health improve in a matter of 8-12 weeks! 

Paula Furiness is the wellness coordinator at Wilson Medical Center, A Duke LifePoint Hospital.  She is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist.  Paula has worked in the health and wellness field for over 30 years.  Have questions?  Contact her at paula.furiness@wilmed.org